Fast-growing Top 50 Indie Applegreen UK has won planning permission for its biggest development on the UK mainland.
Its application for a 5,000sq ft trunk road service area (TRSA) on the A14 at Spaldwick, Cambridgeshire, was approved by nine votes to four by Huntingtonshire District Council’s planning committee.
Applegreen’s parent company has its headquarters in the Irish Republic, but has been growing rapidly in the UK where it currently has 75 sites, including motorway service stations in Northern Ireland. Applegreen UK managing director Michael O’Loughlin described the move as a turning point in its development on the UK mainland.
He said: “This is our first TRSA, but Applegreen wants to build more motorway service areas and TRSAs in this country.”
Applegreen currently has an Esso filling station on the site, but the shop was burned down during a robbery in August 2015, and since then it has been operating out of a “prefab”.
O’Loughlin said the TRSA would be a completely new development including three high street food offers, outdoor seating and an enclosed playground.
New tanks will be installed as part of the project, but he said the fuel offer would be much as before, including Applegreen’s low fuel price promise on its canopy.
With most travellers filling up before journeys to avoid high service area fuel prices, he said it might take some time for customers to realise that Applegreen was offering genuinely competitive mainstream fuel prices.
O’Loughlin said the planning process had taken about 12 months to complete during which Applegreen had liaised closely with the local community.
Timelines have not been finalised for the development, but he expected it would be completed during the third quarter of 2017.